If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are in your thirties and single or dating. I’m also assuming you’re wondering how long to date before marriage in your 30s.
Before I go any further, let me say right off the bat that there is no universal timeline for transitioning from dating into a committed relationship like marriage. But again, you probably already know this, yet you may be curious about what experts say about the topic.
Here’s what the experts say in a 2015 survey of over 3,000 people who were currently or previously married.
Dating for one to two years can reduce the chances of divorce by 20%, and seeing the same person for three years or more can lower the probability of divorce by about 50%.
Interestingly, this isn’t always the case because every relationship is unique.
If you are exclusively seeing someone in your thirties, this article is for you. I’ll share some tips to help you decide when it is right for you to take your relationship a step further if that’s what you truly want.
But first, let’s start with why you shouldn’t be pressured into getting married, even if you are in your late thirties.
Three Less-Known Reasons for Dating
Many people in their thirties already have a clear career path and are ready to settle down with someone they love and start a family.
But here’s the thing.
How do you know that you are not moving too fast? Or, are you taking too long and wasting valuable time dating when you should already be growing your family?
Sometimes love sweeps you off your feet, and it may feel like everything is happening too fast. At other times, you may fear being left on the shelf.
Indeed, dating for the sheer fun of it might be off the table for you if you are in your 30s. And no pressure intended here, but if your weekends suddenly start to have too many invites to kids’ birthdays and weddings, you may wonder if you’re the only one among your peers who’s still unmarried.
While all of the above may be true, it is important to remember why you are dating in the first place.
1. You Discover What You Really Want in a Relationship
One of the best ways to know first-hand what you want in a relationship is actually date for a while, whether it is the same person or a few different people.
You may think you already know what you want for yourself in a relationship, but dating will change your perspective.
It is not uncommon to realize that your ideal partner was nothing more than a mere fantasy after having a couple of real-life experiences.
Dating allows you to identify likable and unlikeable characters and qualities in another person, even though you previously thought otherwise.
In other words, dating is the perfect opportunity to test your preconceived ideas of what you want and don’t want in a relationship.
2. You Get to Know Another Human Being
In addition to gaining more insight into your core values regarding relationships, dating lets you know another human being.
The ticking clock may blindside you from realizing that you are giving your time and attention to someone who may be a life-long partner, but that’s exactly what you are doing, and that’s incredibly valuable.
In other words, do not worry too much that you are wasting time dating, even if it doesn’t lead to a relationship. Making time for others helps increase empathy and benefits you too.
Want to learn why making time for people is good for you? Check out this article.
3. Your Learn to Embrace Your Self-Worth
Dating isn’t always a rosy experience – it can test you in many ways and amplify your insecurities.
You may even catch yourself doubting your self-worth if someone you care about doesn’t seem very interested in you.
And it can be an entirely different ball game if you are unlucky to end up with a man or woman with low self-esteem.
Dating is a great opportunity to learn not to make excuses for others’ behaviors and to let go of your insecurities, especially because your perceived flaws are often based on another person’s opinion of who you should be.
Here’s the takeaway from all this: date to know yourself and others, not primarily to get married.
What Is the Ideal Dating Timeline for Someone in Their 30s?
How long to date before marriage in your 30s depends entirely on you and the person you want to tie the knot with.
Different people have different relationship goals, so it is difficult to box everyone into an “ideal” timeline, regardless of age.
For many people, it takes about two months from when they first meet to start dating exclusively, and they can get engaged and married between 6 and 18 months later.
However, it is not uncommon to see couples who went from dating to tying the knot within three short months of first setting eyes on each other – talk about love at first sight!
Here’s my point.
There is no “ideal” dating timeline, whether you are in your twenties, thirties, or forties.
You have your values and what you want from a potential future partner, and these must be considered before walking down the altar if you want a long-lasting union.
Instead of worrying too much about a dating timeline, focus on the following questions:
- Have you found the right partner?
- Are you the right person for them?
- Do you have shared values and interests?
- Do you truly understand each other?
- Do you genuinely love each other and want to spend the rest of your lives together?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, there’s nothing wrong with marrying them within a month, six months, a year, or whatever timeline that works for both of you.
4 Things to Remember When Dating in Your 30s
- Don’t date someone you don’t really like. Indeed some people in their thirties feel like time is no longer on their side, but that’s more reason to not waste your time with someone you’re not that into. Stop hanging out with someone or leading them on if you don’t see a possible future with them.
- Don’t allow societal ideas or expectations to pressure you into getting married. Enjoy your dates and take your time to find the right person to spend the rest of your life with. Your friends may all be tying the knot, and your relatives may directly or indirectly suggest that you’re getting too old. But making a romantic decision or getting married based on a timeline might not be a good move.
- Avoid waiting for the “perfect” partner, but don’t settle. Settling for someone you would rather not be with is not healthy for you, the person, and the relationship. However, don’t adopt an all-or-nothing mentality when selecting a partner. Be willing to meet people halfway because relationships are about healthy compromise.
- Be open to dating people across a wider age range. “Too old” or “too young” shouldn’t be your top priority when choosing a potential partner in your thirties. Consider an individual’s maturity level rather than their age. Also, consider choosing someone who wants the same thing as you out of the relationship and someone with a similar life vision.
How Long to Date Before Marriage in Your 30s: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself
Dating in your 30s may feel like heaven on earth, especially if your partner seems to totally get you. However, you don’t want to transition into tying the knot too soon, even if your biological clock is ticking.
Remember that it is more important for marriage to last a lifetime than rushing in and out of unhealthy unions just because you are afraid that age is not on your side.
There is no 100% guarantee that dating for six months, a year, or even longer before marriage in your 30s will automatically lead to a lifetime of blissful union. But you can significantly increase your chances of having a happy marriage if you carefully consider the following questions before walking down the altar.
1. What Do You Really Want?
Knowing exactly what you want in a relationship can help your union last a lifetime. It is never a good idea to get married if you haven’t figured out what you want from being married.
Are you getting married because of peer pressure? Have you identified what an ideal home or family looks like for you? What are your partner’s values, and how do they complement yours?
2. Are You Sexually Compatible?
Sexual satisfaction plays a huge role in a successful marriage, even though many people, including married folks, talk shy away from the topic.
You and your partner should be open about what you expect in the bedroom. Discuss your sexual preference, know what’s off-limits, and understand your turn-ons.
This doesn’t mean that you should have sex prior to marriage as there is no correlation between marriage success to those that have had premarital sex versus those that have waited until after marriage. Regardless it is wise to have open discussions about sex and be consistent with your values.
3. What Are Your Values and Interests?
Marriage brings two people with different interests and values together, and it is important to respect these differences.
While this is true, you want to ensure that you have more things in common with your partner than things that make you very different. The more common values and interests you share, the stronger you can make your relationship.
On the other hand, if your pastimes, hobbies, interests, and values are worlds apart from the person you are currently dating, you might be forcing a square peg into a round hole if you try to marry them.
4. What Are Your Views About Having Kids?
It will be difficult to have a successful marriage if you prefer not to have kids but want to get married to someone who wants to have a bunch of them.
If you’re in your late thirties and feel age is no longer on your side, having kids might be one of the top reasons you want to get married.
But whether or not kids top your list of priorities, make sure to discuss children before tying the knot.
5. How Would You Handle Individual and Joint Finances?
Discuss how you plan to share big and small family expenses, as well as handle personal and joint finances.
Remember to talk about savings, long-term investments, and retirement.
6. Do You Share the Same Religious Beliefs?
If you are thinking of building a life together with someone, it is important to accept their religious views and spiritual practices, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
If couples can’t reach a compromise about religious beliefs, it is usually best they go their separate ways.
Don’t allow age to push you into a union that won’t last because you are afraid of ending up alone if you don’t marry a particular person. Be honest about what you can and can’t tolerate, and don’t be shy to talk about your belief system, whether or not others approve of it.
7. How Would You Balance Your Career and Family Life?
Understanding your potential future partner’s view about work and family life is important. See if you both have the same expectations about balancing work with family.
For example, what happens if your career paths require one of you to move to a different country, as often happens with military families?
Work out these different aspects of marriage first during dating before taking the plunge.
As you may have already figured from observing people and your personal experience, there are no universal rules and timelines when it comes to love.
You can meet and fall head-over-heels in love within a month or two of meeting someone, and you’re already thinking of settling down with them for the rest of your life.
Still, it is not uncommon to date the same person for several years and not feel like getting married to them just yet.
Here’s my candid advice for how long to date before marriage in your 30s. Think about your values, lifestyle, compatibility, and what you truly want in a relationship at this stage of your life before considering marriage.